By Ken MacLeod

BOSTON (CBS) – A man stabbed and robbed in the Public Garden is recovering and hoping police catch the attacker. Zach Johnston was with his brother and a friend when three men suddenly showed their weapons and demanded money.

It happened on New Year’s Eve as the group walked toward the Arlington T stop. The stab wound suffered by the 24-year-old teacher’s aide is healing nicely and he’s trying not to think about what could have happened.

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“It’s so easy to get bogged down with the what-ifs,” Johnston said.

Suspect wanted in Public Garden attack (WBZ-TV)

The trio was heading from one party to another cutting through the Public Garden when the suspects, including one guy captured on a nearby surveillance camera — seemed to appear out of nowhere.

“My mind was going all these different places,” Johnston said.

There was a brief scuffle as the suspects brandished a knife and a pistol stripping Zach’s group of their wallets and cell phones. At 6‘4”, 250, Zach never thought he’d be mugged.

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“When there’s weapons involved it’s a big equalizer,” he said.

Zach Johnston was stabbed in the Public Garden (WBZ-TV)

But the crooks weren’t done, escorting Zach to a nearby ATM. It was only then that he noticed he’d been stabbed. Zach withdrew $500 and handed it over. The ordeal had taken close to a half hour which felt like forever and has left a lasting scar that can’t be bandaged.

“It’s kind of the feeling of that loss of security,” he said.

It was a rainy, miserable night so there were apparently no witnesses and nearby surveillance cameras yielded only one of the three suspects. Zach hopes they’re caught but can live with it if they’re not.

“I think for one obviously I recognize that I’m very lucky,” he said.

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Zach is still trying to make sense out of some events that night. For instance when he handed over the $500 from the ATM, the guy with gun returned Zach’s wallet and cell phone.

Ken MacLeod